As the students enter, I have the half-sheet “Binomial Theorem Review” ready for them to pick up and get started. The PowerPoint is also projected on my screen, and provides the students with directions which include asking for them to take out their review sheet from last night. As the students complete step #1 of the opening activity (to select a series of 3 letters from A-F), I rotate around the room greeting students and seeing what additional hang-ups there were on the review sheet. If I see multiple issues between students who I visit then I quietly place a note on the board to hold our first optional review workshop over that particular topic. I make a quick note of students who have made only minimal progress on the sheet.
Once I have made the rounds, I forward the PowerPoint to slide #2 where the students are asked to match their letters to create their own binomial problem. They are to solve their problem on the half sheet that I provided, and then wait patiently for further directions. (I usually allow my students 3-4 minutes to work on this.)
After all students have hand an opportunity to quietly complete their problem, I click the PowerPoint to slide #3 which instructs the students to redo another person’s problem (after I shuffle and recirculate them, that is). After the students check the work on the new paper that they have received, they must return it to the owner and talk about any incorrect coefficients that they had found, if any existed.
After the entry activity, I like to leave myself 15-20 minutes to run any Mandatory Workshops – which are workshops that the students MUST attend. Basically, it is a mini reteach lesson. These workshops might be re-sharing information in the mortgage calculation activity or other problems in the unit OR over specific content concerns from my start of class walk around the room (looking at the students study guides). Chances are, given the length of this 3 week unit, there will be SOMETHING that your students need to see at least one more time!
To see just how much the students learned in the unit (other than giving them the test tomorrow) I like to open up a discussion by asking the class how what we have just studied with sequences and series connects to our overarching theme of a function AND/OR any other units that we have studied in class. Rather than revealing how sequences and series fall under the umbrella of our yearly theme, I LOVE to see the students make and communicate these connections! It is a really powerful way to end the unit! You will be surprised at just how much the students will be able to tell you if you give them the chance. As the students participate in the discussion, I act as the moderator and record key elements of the conversation that is taking place. This helps me to see how I did as a teacher emphasizing the important connections in the unit, without explicitly telling them to the students.
After calling for any final questions, I announce to the students that we will have our usual Test-Day Breakfast in my room the morning of the test. Usually, I have students show up as early as 6:50 a.m. During this time I bring donuts and juice, and we work over any additional concepts that the students desire. I pull up old PowerPoint notes and hand out mini whiteboards as needed. It sets a great tone for the day. Because of the free donuts, the breakfast is always well attended!